Season Summary: 1967

The 1967 VFA season was arguably one of the worst in Williamstown Football Club history, and certainly the Seagulls' worst season since 1938. Despite rover Ian Nankervis joining the club from VFL side Carlton and winning the best and fairest award and 15 other new players being added to the playing list, the club won just two games to finish in last place. Bob Lane and Maurie Fowler also joined the 'Town in 1967 from Carlton, along with other notable recruits Owen Madigan, Ian 'Hucky' Johnson, John Whittington and Eddie Szyszka.

Ironically the two victories were against Port Melbourne (10.13 to 4.19) in round 2 and Dandenong (17.16 to 12.19 - Szyska 7 goals) in round 15, the teams that would play off in that year's grand final. Both victories were at home at Williamstown. Also, between rounds 7 and 14, six games were lost by nine points or less. To top it all off, the Seagulls also lost to Preston at home by just three points in the final game of the season. The pain of taking home the wooden spoon was emphasised further with the club being relegated to second division for the first time. On a positive note, the Club announced that a Fourths team would be formed to compete in the Western Suburban League under 16's competition from the following season.

At the end of the 1967 season, Seagulls legend Gerry Callahan called time on his ten-year, 202-game coaching career with Williamstown, the longest tenure in this Club's history, despite the fact that he still had two years of a five-year contract left to run. Given Callahan had been a major part of the club as either a player or coach since 1951, his departure further compounded the fact that Williamstown had been relegated from first division football. Callahan finished his career having played 171 games, kicking 75 goals, winning five premierships in 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958 and 1959 in the blue and gold (the latter two as captain-coach), as well as two best and fairest awards in 1951 (his first season) and 1957. He was captain from 1954-1959. He also coached the Seagulls to grand finals in 1961 and 1964. He was named captain and selected at centre-half back in Williamstown's Team of the Century. A glorious era had ended. Gerry Callahan passed away at the age of 89 in March 2018.

Ian Nankervis won the Andy Taylor Memorial Trophy for best and fairest in his first year with the Club from Jim Murrie and Owen Madigan, also in his debut season. Eddie Szyszka, another recruit, topped the goalkicking for the year with a total of 54, including 10 in a two-point loss to Brunswick at Williamstown in round 10, which placed him third on the VFA list. Former captain Daryl Ward, who had retired at the end of 1966, returned in an attempt to help the side and played two games for the year to take his tally to 188 since 1956, kicking 157 goals along the way. 

Jeff Trotman, the 1966 best and fairest winner and 1967 vice-captain, was tragically killed in a car accident on December 29 1967, at the age of just 24. Jeff played 19 games for Williamstown, and was forced into retirement through a serious illness five games into the 1967 season.

A big positive for the VFA in this season was the move by Channel 0 (now the Ten Network) to televise games each Sunday.  

 

The unfurling of the 1966 Reserves premiership flag prior to the opening match of 1967 on April 23

Bob 'Penny' Lane came to Williamstown from Carlton in 1967. A policeman, he would be murdered on Friday the 13th of July 1979 at Wakool River, Kylalite NSW while on duty. He played 84 games and kicked 46 goals for Williamstown from 1967-1975, including the 1969 premiership victory.

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